Location- Albright College, Pennsylvania
Elizabeth stared at the summons from the dean of academic affairs and groaned. Nothing coming from the academic dean boded well. He was a hardass who wanted to make everyone else miserable. He hadn't gone into specifics about anything.
My office after your last class today. We have things to discuss. Walter Mosley
Dean of Academics
"I want to know who's been starting these rumors and why so many people are listening to them!" Mosley snapped at Phillip James, the head of the college honors society.
"They're not rumors, sir." Elizabeth spoke up. "The athletes have been coasting through the year. They're forcing other students to show up for them at class, do their work for them, and they're using rather unsavory methods to do it."
"First of all, I highly doubt it. Second of all, do you have any proof to substantiate the claims?" Mosley asked snidely.
"No, sir." Phillip gave Elizabeth an apologetic look.
"Get out of my office, both of you." Mosley said, pointing at the door and opening a file.
"Dude, that was a waste of time." Phillip remarked as they left the building. "What do we do now?"
"The dean wouldn't listen to us, so I guess we take matters into our own hands. This can't go on, Phil." Elizabeth said, chewing her lip thoughtfully. She wished, not for the first time, that her mother was here to bounce ideas off of. She would know what to do.
"Oh, shit." Phil pointed across the courtyard at a small group of the student athletes pushing someone around. "That looks like the men's basketball team."
"And that's Kitty Baker they've got trapped." Elizabeth said. "Come on, we'd better try and help her." She hitched her bag onto her shoulder and started for the group.
"It's not the football team. Thank God for small favors." Phil grumbled, following her.
Before they had gotten more than ten feet over, a truck suddenly pulled in front of them, facing them. They stopped for a moment, confused. One of the windows of the truck rolled down and a rifle barrel slowly peeked out.
"What the-" Phil hissed. "Is that thing real?"
"Hit the ground!" Elizabeth snapped, dropping to the ground like a deadweight just before the rifle began firing.
"Shit, is this what they're doing now?" Phil shouted, through the spray of gunfire and the terrified students running in all directions. Some of them followed Elizabeth's and Phil's leads and hit the ground. Several more were hit by bullets and fell. Most of them were too terrified to do much of anything but run.
"Hannibal, if you're not there, I'm going to kill you." Maggie muttered as she dialed the last number Hannibal had given her to contact him. She didn't ask much of him, just that he picked up the phone every once in a while and let her know that he was still alive. This would be one of the first times she had actually asked anything of him. If he refused, she didn't know what she would do.
BA picked up the phone in the van and growled into it. "What do you want now, sucka?" Murdock really had been abusing the "keep in contact" rule Hannibal had stuck them all with.
"BA, it's Maggie Sullivan. Is Hannibal there?" Maggie asked, ignoring the greeting. They didn't call him Bad Attitude because he had phone etiquette.
"Sorry bout that, Doc. The crazy fool is on a trip again and thinks that this phone is a toy." BA said. "Hannibal's here, I'll put him on."
"Thanks, BA." Maggie said.
"This joint meeting of Phi Theta Kappa, Omega Beta Zeta, Alpha Omega Gamma, Phi Beta Kappa, and the Student Senate will come to order. Since Elizabeth Sullivan, president of Phi Theta Kappa, called this meeting, we'll turn the floor over to her." the president of the Student Senate nodded at Elizabeth and smiled tightly. "Go ahead."
Laurie nudged Elizabeth for moral support. Elizabeth stood up and faced the crowd of nearly seven hundred dorm students gathered in the library building.
"For the past year, the student athletes have increasingly taken advantage of the opportunities and privileges allowed them because they are student athletes. They have become tiresome, dangerous, and controlling. We have petitioned the Dean of Academic Affairs to cancel the sports seasons until the teams straighten up and take responsibility, but he has refused."
The crowd murmured among themselves.
"So tell me again, Maggie. The athletes are taking over the college? I find it hard to believe that the administration would allow something like that. Are you sure Lizzy's not exaggerating?" Hannibal asked doubtfully.
His casualness infuriated Maggie. She had seeked him out to pour her heart to him, ask for his help, and perhaps be comforted. But all he was doing was downplaying everything. She suddenly wished she had never let Lizzy lay eyes on him. If anything, the stories she had told her daughter about the A-Team had fueled Lizzy to find the courage to change things when she could.
"Maggie?" Hannibal asked.
"I'm sorry I bothered you." she said sarcastically, barely holding back the tears.
"Now I've hurt you. And that's not what I was aiming for." Hannibal said quickly. "What I meant is if things are that serious, why haven't they brought in outside help?"
"I don't think Lizzy knows the answer herself. All she knows is that she intends to change it. And I'm worried. No, make that terrified. What if she turns her back on the wrong person?" Maggie sniffed furiously.
"Maggie, don't cry." Hannibal closed his eyes, wishing he was there to wrap his arms around her. "Where is she, Albright? That's in Pennsylvania, right?"
"Yes." Maggie sighed; she hadn't intended to guilt him into doing this. "I'm going up this weekend."
"Hannibal, if my daughter's life is in danger, there is no way you could stop me from going up to try to protect her!" she snapped, all venom. "I think she took too many of those stories I told her about you and the others to heart."
"We can't just shut the entire Athletic Association down, goddammit! We have to be reasonable!"
Elizabeth raised her arms and gestured for everyone to be quiet. "The Athletic Association had its chance to nip this thing in the bud. The job has fallen to us now. Are we going to have the courage to change things here or will they continue to bully us into submission?" she shouted.
From the looks of the crowd, many of them were taking her words to heart. The applause, when it began, was barely audible. But once it started, it spread like wildfire. Soon, the whole library was on its feet, cheering and whistling.
All of a sudden, gunshots erupted.
"HIT THE DIRT!" Phillipa Blake, the secretary of Phi Beta Kappa, screamed.
"THAT'S RIGHT! EVERYONE ON THE FLOOR!" one of the shooters screamed, coming up to the stage, flanked by twenty or thirty men and women in black suits with automatic weapons. The man, in his early twenties, shoved Elizabeth aside and went to the podium.
"I would suggest that everyone stay put, unless you want to die today. As of right now, March 11th, the Athletic Association is taking over Albright College. We have no less than twenty people in every building on this campus. No one enters or leaves starting today."
"You can't do that!" someone shouted.
The man levelled him with a stare. "I can do whatever I want. And the first thing we're doing is segregating everyone. Separating the right people from the wrong people."
Phil went ashen as the implications sunk in. There were several gasps and a general feeling of disbelief permeated the entire body of students gathered.
"What the hell is this? The fucking sixties?" Elizabeth demanded. "There are laws--"
"Laws that favor the wrong people!" one of the shooters from the back of the room shouted.
The sharpshooter in the front of the room took out a small slip of paper from his pocket. "Is Ariel Goldberg in the room?"
Ariel, secretary of the Student Senate, visibly started when she heard her name. Elizabeth stared at Phil, then at Laurie. What was being planned here?
"I'm Ariel." the young woman stood up.
"Come down here." he gestured for her to join him and Elizabeth at the podium, a sadistic smile suddenly lighting up his face. When Ariel had joined, not expecting much, he began to question her. "Are you a Jew?"
"What?" Ariel gasped. "Why--"
"Answer the question."
"You don't have to answer it." Elizabeth snapped at Ariel. "Not if you don't want to. It's a rule here."
"Shut up!" he snarled at Elizabeth, then turned back to Ariel. "Are you a Jew?"
"Yes." Ariel said clearly. "I'm Jewish."
Before anyone could move, react, or even draw their next breath, the man had pushed the gun barrel up to Ariel's head and pulled the trigger. The side of Ariel's head was blown away in less than a second.
"We can be there in a few days, Maggie." Hannibal said. "I want you to stay somewhere close to the college, but not actually go to the college until we get there. Will you promise me you'll do that?"
"Okay, Hannibal. I'll wait for you." Maggie hung up the phone and went to her room to start packing.
The reactions to the murder were varied. Many people were in tears after the horrifying spectacle. Elizabeth had swayed visibly and turned a ghastly pale. Several members of Phi Beta Kappa had pulled her away to the relative safety of behind the forum table.
"As I said before, we have completely taken over the college. You'll be expected to show up for meals and your regular classes on time. A strict curfew will be enforced. No one will enter or leave the campus without special permission and a member of the Athletic Association with them. There will be no exceptions to this rule. We will hand out dorm assignments as soon as we've received word from every building on campus. If there are any deviances from these rules, they will be dealt with quickly and harshly. This is your home for the rest of your life now. If you comply with us, you will be treated fairly. If you do not comply with us, you will die."